The second week in February I painted circles; exploring color, size, opacity and transparency, openness, and closure. These images led me to research the place circles have held for humans in history (yes I do research before writing my blogs). I discovered that mathematicians, artists, and philosophers all consider the circle to be the perfect shape, with all points equidistant from the center. At once mysterious and easily accessible, significance and meaning is readily conferred on this construct. A symbol of mobility as well as unity and infinity, every wisdom tradition out there regards the circle as a metaphor for the Divine. Furthermore, I discovered that over the centuries, many people, across cultures and religions and have made the statement attributed above to Nicholas of Cusa. Looking at these images I notice reverberating energies. I see a search for order, completeness, and meaning. This piece, below, encourages us to focus on the interaction between the circles. The emanating rays enhance the effect, creating movement and perspective in the composition.
The circle of the return to birth can only remain open, but this is a chance, a sign of life, and a wound. Jacques Derrida
Thre are many associations for circles; sun, moon, planets, halo, rainbow, ring, wheel, and a hole. When perfectly drawn, without beginning or end, it is a symbol for infinity,
As I was working on 2/16 I noted that this image literally emerged.
“In its depths I saw internalized, bound with love in one volume, what through the universe becomes unsewn quires: substances and accidents and their modes as it were conflated together, in such away that what I describe is a simple light… In that Light one becomes such that it is impossible ever to consent to turn away from it toward any other sight, because goodness, the object of the will, is all gathered there, and what is perfect there falls short elsewhere… In the profound and clear Subsistence of the deep Light I saw three circles, of three colors and of one circumference, and one seemed refected from the other like a rainbow from a rainbow, and the third seemed fire breathing equally from both.” — Dante, Paradiso, Canto 33
When I returned to the studio, I decided that yesterday’s painting of the day was not complete... In this painting, the circles overlap and penetrate each other. They are continually becoming, continually moving. We can see both a clockwise spiral, a symbol of coming into being, and a counter-clockwise spiral that moves toward unity as it returns to the inside. The viewer's eye connects the open lines creating a closed composition.
The primordial form of everything manifested, from atom to globe, from man to angel, is spheroidal, the sphere having been with all nations the emblem of eternity and infinity – a serpent swallowing its tail. To realize the meaning, however, the sphere must be thought of as seen from its centre. The field of vision or of thought is like a sphere whose radii proceed from one’s self in every direction, and extend out into space, opening up boundless vistas all around. It is the symbolical circle of Pascal and the Kabalists, ‘whose centre is everywhere and circumference nowhere’ Helena P. Blavatsky,
The circles in this painting do not declare themselves to be flat and two dimensional as the circles in the other paintings. The blue one suggests a sphere.
There is chiaroscuro lighting in this piece. There is a sense of light coming from the upper left-hand quadrant behind the blue orb and the glow extends to the right-hand corner and begins to light the lower part of the painting which is in deep shadow.
The placement, line, and color of the circles suggest that they are emerging, growing from the background. The foremost circle not only overlaps it reveals via transparency what is beneath.
Overall there is an otherworldly quality to this week's work. The generative brushstrokes describe both broken, and intact forms, strong color, and transparency and work together with the color to evoke a spiritual sense. If you have enjoyed this post please let me know in the comments. If you think you know someone who would find some benefit, please forward this to them. If you are not on my mailing list you may easily join here. Peace and all good to you!